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Blue Angels arrive as MacDill AFB prepares for Tampa Bay AirFest

The Blue Angels
Posted at 4:14 PM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 17:23:24-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay AirFest is back! MacDill Air Force Base is welcoming the return of the air show this weekend, including the iconic Blue Angels.

Soaring high in the sky, there was no mistake when the Blue Angels touched down in Tampa Thursday.

“We’re excited to get out there and get this air show going,” said Capt. Austin Huckeba, US Marine Corps. “It’s been a couple years since we’ve been here, so it’s going to be nice to be back in the Tampa area.”

The last time the Blue Angels were at MacDill AFB was four years ago at the Tampa Bay AirFest in 2018. They were planned to be at MacDill in 2020, but the AirFest was canceled due to COVID.

“You’ll hear definitely some power from some of our engines,” said Huckeba.

This weekend’s free, two-day event will be full of high-flying air performances and family-friendly activities. MacDill said it's ready to put on a show like people have never seen before and give people a chance to get up close and personal with aircraft and pilots.

Blue Angels Fat Albert
Fat Albert of the Blue Angels

Capt. Huckeba and AT2 Bailey Cole explained what you can expect from the Blue Angels' performance.

“You’re going to see Fat Albert do a flight demonstration followed by six jets. So you’ll be able to see the diamond go up, Blue Angel one through four, as well as the solos, Blue Angels five and six, then towards the end of the show, they’ll all form together, the Delta, all six aircraft flying together,” said Huckeba. “It’s going to be really exciting.”

“If you’ve never seen the Blue Angels before, it’s going to be something that you’ll never forget,” said Cole.

The Blue Angels are not the only part of the event. Col. Ben Jonsson, the Base Commander for MacDill and the 6th Air Refueling Wing Commander, said it’s a way for them to showcase American airpower.

“Blue Angels, obviously, United States Navy and the Marine Corps. They’re going to be our headline act,” said Col. Jonsson. “They’re phenomenal, but we’ll have the F-22 from the Air Force, our stealth fighter doing their demo, as well as a whole lot of other military and civilian aircraft. It’s going to be awesome.”

Gates open at 8am. You’re encouraged to come as early as you can, even though flying doesn’t start until noon.

If you’re coming to the AirFest, you’ll have two chances, both Saturday and Sunday, to catch the Blue Angels and all the acts fly.

Blue Angels jet in flight
A Blue Angels jet in flight.